NORTH BALLARAT has claimed one of the Ballarat Football and Netball League’s most prestigious junior accolades in the Merv and Mary Howard Memorial Junior Club Championship.
The club trumped Bacchus Marsh and East Ballarat for the coveted prize at the BFNL junior best and fairest awards at the Ballarat Lodge on Wednesday night.
North Ballarat junior football co-ordinator Stuart McKee was on hand to accept the trophy, which North secured with a total of 316 votes, more than 50 clear of the Cobras.
Points were allocated for wins across all junior football and netball grades throughout the home and away season.
“The Merv and Mary Howard award, in memory of (the couple) who passed away in the Port Arthur Massacre, is an important trophy for our club and we’re pleased to receive it,” McKee said.
“It probably goes to show the excellence in coaching that we have.
“We scored well and had success through the year, which can be attributed to the players and the coaching staff (and) we’re well represented in the finals with all our sides there.”
Bacchus Marsh players claimed one of the night’s other top gongs, with Hamish Coulton and Riley Bishop taking out respective under-16.5 and under-14 Robert Allan Medals on top of their junior best and fairest awards.
East Ballarat’s Harry Sharp bettered his runner-up placing in the under-12 best and fairest, winning the other Robert Allan Medal.
The award, which has been won by a number of players that have progressed to AFL level, is judged not only on on-field ability in the Ballarat league, but includes general conduct, how that player is regarded by other sides in the competition and selections and performances in representative matches.
Collingwood premiership captain Nick Maxwell braved crutches to be the evening’s special guest, speaking about his journey to the AFL.
Maxwell, who retired from the top level during the season, talked about his time living and playing in Ballarat, which was important in his eventual recruitment to the Magpies.